These artists are re-inventing the contemporary glass art in India

In the early 20th century, most glass production happened in factories. Even individual glassblowers making their own personalized designs would do their work in those large shared buildings. The idea of "art glass", small decorative works made of art, often with designs or objects inside, flourished. Pieces produced in small production runs, such as the Lampwork figures of Stanislav Brychta, are generally called art glass.

By the 1970s, there were good designs for smaller furnaces, and in the United States this gave rise to the "studio glass" movement of glassblowers who blew their glass outside of factories, often in their own studios. This coincided with a move towards smaller production runs of particular styles. This movement spread to other parts of the world as well. And in India, you can now see a lot of work happening, thanks to a few dedicated artists who are passionate about glass.

However India still lacks proper streamlining of the art form, be it through museum or workshops. Most artists have their own workshops where they work from and generally dependent on hospitality sector for commercial activities.

Modern works of glass art can be seen in a dedicated glass museums and museums of contemporary art. These include the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, and Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, NY, which houses the world's largest collection of glass art and history, with more than 45,000 objects in its collection. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston features a 42.5 feet (13.0 m) tall glass sculpture, Lime Green Icicle Tower, by Dale Chihuly. In February 2000 the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, located in Chicago's Navy Pier, opened as the first museum in America dedicated solely to stained glass windows. The museum features works by Louis Comfort Tiffany and John Lafarge, and is open daily free to the public.

In India, here are the leading glass artists who are pushing the glass ceiling:

(Image credit: Glass Sutra by Reshmi Dey. Sourced from the artist)

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Reshmi Dey

Reshmi Dey
Reshmi Dey is an artist entrepreneur of glass, a rare bird in the industrial and commercial world of India.

Although the term throws up romantic images of chic salons, elegant hotel lobbies and international exhibitions, it has been a struggle for this entrepreneur to establish herself in a world which dictates success by the number of works of glass that she has actually been able to sell. A novice to the world of glass before 1999, it was an uphill effort for Reshmi to absorb herself in this esoteric world, learn the art and then become a commercial success.

In a recent experience cum exhibition session at her studio at Chattarpur in South Delhi, Reshmi was demonstrating the art. Reshmi’s credit lies in the fact, while her artwork is contemporary; her inspiration remains Indian artisans who are deprived of the limelight.

Srila Mookherjee

 Srila Mookherjee

Trained in ceramics at the prestigious National Institute of Design,Srila then went on to spend some months in Finnish Lapland as an apprentice at Pentik, tableware makers. It was in London however where she first picked up the art of glass blowing under the tutelage of Anthony Stern and then at the Glasshouse.
Srila’s ultimate goal was to return home and begin her own studio. Idealistic and practical, she returned to India with just a file containing photographs, drawings and explanations of every piece of equipment needed to set up a studio. Using this manual as a reference, Srila sourced all her material and equipment indigenously and eventually began the first studio glass atelier in India in her home town Kolkata.

Now, over two decades later, she continues to create magic from molten glass, always striving to explore and challenge the possibilities of this exciting medium.

​ Sonia Sareen

​ Sonia Sareen
Sonia has trained in many arts, such as Studio Pottery, Ceramics, Cold Ceramics, Stained Glass, Mosaics, Figurative Glass Paintings, Fusing & Slumping and Metal Sculptures. She is perhaps best known for her exquisite work in stained glass and a designer par excellence.
Starting out as an interior decorator, Sonia quickly explored its potential by experimenting with all kinds of forms and media. In the days when studio pottery was virtually unknown, Sonia delved into the mysteries of clay and trained in Kolkata. She went on to develop that into a viable enterprise. Glass was a secondary passion at the time, and it was only when her sister in the US convinced her to pursue a course in The School Of Visual Arts,New York ,that her journey as a glass artist began. There was no looking back after that. The medium captured her imagination as much as it did her soul and became her mainstay in creativity.

​ Atul Bakshi

​ Atul Bakshi
Atul’s work has now acquired the quality of the seer’s crystal ball. The viewer spots first the colour, the form, the dazzling brilliance but then, as one goes deeper in, the onion layers of sensory experience melt away and what remains in culmination is pure experience …. or pure subjectivity. Atul does not reveal a world; he holds up a mirror to one’s aesthetic and spiritual realities. He opens a door not just to another kind of perception but to a path to the deepest recesses of one’s inner consciousness…revealing the very structure of one’s mind.
Although Atul has been predominately exhibiting his stained glass for many years, his decision to work mainly with the epitome of glass art – dates to 1995 when he first transited into this “final” medium that is the eventual and highest destination of any accomplished glass artist.
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